Readers' Tips for Financial Renewal, Part 1: Ideas for Smart Saving

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Rainy DayA few weeks ago, we asked DailyFinance readers for their best tips for putting your financial house in order. Many were quick to note that the foundation of financial security lies in being ready when disaster hits. With that in mind, here are some of their best suggestions for planning ahead for rainy days -- and making sure your umbrella is big enough.

In 2008, more than 2.6 million people lost their jobs. Some were prepared, but many found themselves raiding savings accounts, selling possessions, and moving out of their dream homes in desperate attempts to get their finances on a firmer footing. As "Frank S." noted, much of that frantic effort could have been avoided with better planning. "Save up to six months in the event you get laid off," he suggests.

Several other readers expressed similar sentiments: "Ray" noted that he has "saved at least 10% of what I have earned since I first began to work in 1971." "DocDearth" suggested going even further: "The more you can afford to save in the way of a percentage of income the better. Between 10% and 15% ... is a good benchmark."

Many of you pointed out that planning for retirement is vital for long-term financial security. To accomplish that goal, some said, they saved all of their bonuses, lived off of only one spouse's income, or maxed out their 401(k) accounts. "DocDearth" puts this especially well, reminding us that we should put money in our retirement accounts before spending on anything else: "The number one rule of financial planning is 'PAY YOURSELF FIRST!!'"

When It Rains, It Pours


But saving can only take you so far. As many readers noted, another vital part of keeping your finances healthy is avoiding the sorts of situations that can decimate them. For example, in 2010 and 2011 20% of people seeking bankruptcy counseling blamed medical bills for their dire financial straits. In 2009, The American Journal of Medicine put the number even higher: According to a study published by the journal, up to 60% of bankruptcies could trace their financial woes to out-of-control health bills.

"Susan S.," who describes herself as a "secret millionaire," takes a proactive approach to the problem: Her simple answer is doing everything she can to avoid getting sick. "You cannot control for all diseases, but keeping yourself as healthy as possible will save on healthcare. Eat your vegetables, exercise, don't smoke or drink to excess, and wear protective equipment such as bike helmets." Also, as many readers noted, even expensive health insurance can be a bargain if a serious medical problem arises.

Divorce is another financial disaster: In the past, it was women who were most often left financially bereft when marriages fell apart, but a rise in divorce judgments against men, combined with increased policing of their child support and alimony payments, has shifted the trend. Today, the percentages of men and women whose economic fortunes take a nosedive when their marriages break up are almost the same.

But while the financial impact of divorce has become more fairly divided, there is no question that the overall cost remains high. "Meek6" advised "Chose a life partner and stay married. Divorce is the biggest loss you can ever have." "David A" echoed the sentiment by telling a bit of his own private story: "My beloved wife and I will be celebrating 34 years together in 2012. Divorce is one of the most costly mistakes you can make to derail your finances."

When it comes to your finances, there are many ways to scrimp and save. However, as DailyFinance's readers note, perhaps the best way to live well is to be prepared when disaster comes knocking.

Bruce Watson is a senior features writer for DailyFinance. You can reach him by e-mail at bruce.watson@teamaol.com, or follow him on Twitter at @bruce1971.

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Sugardadmeet.com

~~~~~welcome to our club and enjoy yourself~~~~~you are not alone and find your soul

mate~~~~~~~~.

February 07 2012 at 4:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mike

Worried that the Federal Reserve and the U.S. dollar ARE on the brink of collapse, more than a dozen states have proposed using their own alternative currencies of silver and gold. ---NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Lawmakers from 13 states, including Minnesota, Tennessee, Iowa, South Carolina and Georgia, are seeking approval from their state governments to either issue their own alternative currency or explore it as an option. Just three years ago, only three states had similar proposals in place.

"In the likely event of hyperinflation, depression, or the breakdown of the Federal Reserve, State's governmental finances and private economy will be thrown into chaos," said North Carolina Republican Representative Glen Bradley in a currency bill he introduced last year.

Unlike individual communities, which ARE allowed to create their own currency -- as long as it is easily distinguishable from U.S. dollars -- the Constitution bans states from printing their own paper money or issuing their own currency. But it ALLOWS the states to make "gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts."

February 04 2012 at 5:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
marine1942

This article is not true to life
Obama just keeps spending and tells you it is the way to go.
Wisconsin deems and unions ( they go together ) say spend and who cares if you have the money.
You do you believe ?????

February 02 2012 at 8:56 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Mike

YES saving your paper money is sooo smart
1. You might get a whole 1% return during a 15% + rate of inflation!
2. Not to forget the euro (backed by the dollar and US debt) is collapsing or
3. the fed res is printing at warp speed to loan to the US treasury for debt spending!
Yes go ahead and HOLD onto those dollars LOL!
4. Gold/Silver have NEVER fallen to 0.00 VALUE. I got gold!

February 01 2012 at 9:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
smithjone2

This is awesome. Thanks for sharing this. :)

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February 01 2012 at 9:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
savemycountry911

I smell evan.

January 31 2012 at 10:22 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
MONTOOTH

Spend LESS, than you make; and Save MORE than you spend.

January 31 2012 at 9:41 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
democracks0

DID EVAN REALLY THINK BY RELEASING HIS CAP LOCK KEY AND TOTALLY CHANGING HIS SCREEN NAME STYLE THAT EVERYONE WOULDN'T NOTICE HIS INANE COMMENTS. LMAO!!!

January 31 2012 at 8:21 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to democracks0's comment
savemycountry911

evan doesn't think.

January 31 2012 at 8:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to savemycountry911's comment
savemycountry911

LOL mrspelosi, you are sooooo smart since we knocked you off your podium.

January 31 2012 at 9:03 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down
savemycountry911

Vote for me 'cause I'm your friend.
I'll try that Socialism again.
I'll spend until we're out of debt.
Then I'll spend some more, you bet.
I am just a spending fool.
Vote for me 'cause idiots rule.

January 31 2012 at 8:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
democracks0

EVAN HAS GONE OFF THE DEEP END. HE'S ADDED EVEN MORE SCREEN NAMES TO HIS REPERTOIRE.

MISERABLE, SFAMILYENT AND THE LIST GOES ON

WHAT A DOPE.

LMAO!!!!

OBAMASAFIASCO

January 31 2012 at 7:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to democracks0's comment
savemycountry911

He seems to have a mental problem.

January 31 2012 at 8:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply